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Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

“Moaning is One of the Most Boring Art Forms”: Gcina Mhlophe Recommends Sharing Stories Instead

Umcelo Nezindaba Zase-AfrikaUmcelo Neentsomi Zase-AfrikaStories of AfricaHave You Seen Zandile?
Love ChildOur Story MagicHi Zoleka!Haai Zoleka!

Gcina Mhlophe, actress and storyteller, was recently featured on Thabiso Sikwane’s lunchtime radio show on Power FM to speak about the new Oral History Museum, which is opening in Durban.

The Oral History Museum, which also goes by the Story House, has been a dream of Mhlophe’s for a long time. Transferring knowledge to younger generations is an important means of culture.

Before discussing the museum, Sikwane and Mhlophe speak about the Fees Must Fall movement. Mhlophe’s emphasises the importance of education, saying “I’m right behind you, babies”.

Just as the student movements this year have allowed young people to make themselves heard, the Story House is a space for South Africans to tell their stories. For Mhlophe, this has been a long time coming: “It’s been 20 years of wishing and longing and praying for an oral history museum to be opened in this country, where ordinary South Africans can tell their stories.”

Mhlophe hopes that people will take this opportunity to tell their stories instead of complaining what a poor job the rest of the world is doing representing them. “Let’s just do it,” she says “moaning is one of the most boring art forms”.

Listen to the podcast:


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Good Stories and Great Dreams: Gcina Mhlophe Describes Her Hopes for Young South Africans (Video)

Umcelo Nezindaba Zase-AfrikaUmcelo Neentsomi Zase-AfrikaStories of AfricaHave You Seen Zandile?
Love ChildOur Story MagicHi Zoleka!Haai Zoleka!

Gcina Mhlophe, actress and storyteller, was recently interviewed by Jennifer Sanasie for News 24.

Mhlophe, who had just given a talk to a group of young people, told Sanasie about how “honoured and humbled” she is to hear about how her work has affected and inspired her audience, and says she is “so excited to see and hear what young people are doing in South Africa today”.

She goes on to speak about the importance of young people being allowed to express their dreams, disappointments and good stories.

Watch the video:

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Gcina Mhlophe’s 57th Birthday Celebrated with Friends and Fans (Video)

Haai Zoleka!Hi Zoleka!Umcelo Nezindaba Zase-AfrikaUmcelo Neentsomi Zase-Afrika
Have You Seen Zandile?Love ChildOur Story Magic

Gcina Mhlophe recently celebrated her 57th birthday at an event hosted by Newtown Junction.

Friends shared birthday messages, and many people who have been inspired and entertained by the beloved storyteller joined in to wish her well.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka complimented her as a “good-hearted person”, and said she didn’t know her own age. Poets Zaide Hearnecker and Natalia Molebatsi added their well-wishes, as did a host of musicians with whom Mhlope has worked.

Watch the video of personal birthday messages for Mhlophe:

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The celebration included photo opportunities, the chance to write a birthday message, and plenty of singing by Mhlophe and others.

Watch the video:

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Image courtesy of Motivation Speakers Bookings

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Don’t Miss World Religions in Concert Featuring Gcina Mhlophe in Durban

Umcelo Nezindaba Zase-AfrikaUmcelo Neentsomi Zase-AfrikaStories of Africa
Have You Seen Zandile?Love ChildOur Story Magic

Gcina Mhlophe, storyteller and author, will be part of World Religions in Concert, taking place at the Denis Hurley Centre in Durban on Monday, 9 November, at 6:30 for 7 PM.

The concert is a celebration of Durban’s vibrant and diverse interfaith community. It commemorates the centenary of the birth of Denis Hurley, who served as bishop and archbishop of Durban between 1947 to 1992.

Artslink has published more details about the event:

The concert has been thoughtfully created to commemorate Hurley’s legacy, to celebrate the opening of the DHC and to demonstrate the role of the faith communities in working together on this project. The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, which has graciously supported this project, will be conducted by Naum Rousine. They will be joined by the Clermont Community and Emmanuel Cathedral Choirs and noted performers including a Buddhist drumming group from Johannesburg; storyteller Gcina Mhlophe and her daughter Kwezi Becker; acclaimed opera singers Linda Bukhosini and Bongani Tembe; violinist and KZNPOs concert master, Joanna Frankel and opera singer Raphael Vilakazi. They will be joined by children of the six different faith groups represented in this event. (African Traditional, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim).

The concert begins as the sun sets with the traditional sunset call to prayer from the neighbouring Juma Mosque; with a response from the church bells; followed by Buddhist and Zulu drums and orchestral pieces of Jewish and Hindu music; Muslim chanting and Christian and African choral pieces will all combine to show the richness of Durban’s musical and religious heritage.

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Join Gcina Mhlophe’s Birthday Celebrations and Support the Oral History Museum Petition

Umcelo Nezindaba Zase-AfrikaHave You Seen Zandile?Love ChildOur Story MagicStories of AfricaSongs and Stories of Africa

Iconic South African Gcina Mhlophe will celebrate her birthday and see her dream of an oral history museum come one step closer in Johannesburg this month.

The renowned writer and storyteller will share information about the lifelong project – the establishment of Memory House, an oral history museum honouring the ordinary people who make our lives better – at a special event on Saturday, 24 October, from 12:30 to 3 PM at at Newtown Junction Mall.

You are invited to celebrate Mhlophe’s birthday and the rebirth of our oral history – the event is open to the public and entrance is free. Come and support the 1000 Signature Campaign for the Memory House.

“My own people have named me Gcinamasiko, which means the keeper of heritage; I wear this name like a blanket and honour it with my being,” Mhlophe says.

The Newtown Junction celebrations will feature Mhlophe with Bheki Khoza (musical director and lead guitar), Melvin Peters on piano, saxophonist Jerry Kunene, Paki Peleole on drums, bass guitarist Mandla Zikhalala and percussionists Mabi Thobejane and Mpho Molikeng, who will perform to launch the Hope Song CD.

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Gcina Mhlophe Inspires Creative Writing Students (Plus: Watch Mhlophe Perform at Poetry Africa)

Umcelo Nezindaba Zase-AfrikaHave You Seen Zandile?Love ChildOur Story MagicStories of AfricaSongs and Stories of Africa

Legendary storyteller, poet and activist Gcina Mhlophe visited the Durban University of Technology last month where she shared pearls of writing wisdom at the 3rd Writing Competition organised by the DUT Writing Centre.

Mhlophe, who facilitated a workshop with the finalists and was the guest speaker at the awards ceremony, spoke about the importance of writing in your mother tongue.

Read the article:

The prominent Mhlophe told the attendees that, “when they write they write in their mother tongue languages”. “Each and every time as a writer you must use the language you are good at, do not try to write in the language that you are not comfortable with. People must write about something they know well and something that they have experienced,” Mhlophe said.

Siphesihle Mthethwa who is an aspiring poet and DUT student said, “To be in the same room as she (Mhlophe) is a privilege. I am inspired by all her writings and the way she does her thing, it is a wonderful experience to meet her today.”

The 19th Poetry Africa Festival started today, with an exciting line-up of local and international poets.

Vanguard shared a video from 2010 when Mhlophe performed at the 14th Poetry Africa Festival. “Let’s play with an old poem … the weather outside calls for it,” Mhlophe says, before reading “Sometimes When it Rains”.

Watch the video:

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Listen to an Interview with Gcina Mhlophe – Writer, Storyteller and Cultural Ambassador

Gcina Mhlophe was a guest on The Forum@eight on SAfm recently where she spoke about the thing she loves most – storytelling.

Umcelo Nezindaba Zase-AfrikaHave You Seen Zandile?Love ChildOur Story MagicStories of AfricaSongs and Stories of Africa

Who is Gcina Mhlophe? “I’m a writer, I’m a storyteller and I see myself as a cultural ambassador wherever I travel. I’ve been travelling the world for 33 years, everywhere I go I try to represent my country or my continent in fact.”

In the podcast, Mhlophe muses on the meaning of Heritage Month and Heritage Day: “Heritage Day for me means that we must celebrate our history, where we come from, celebrate those who came before us. We celebrate what we remember so that we pass it on to future generations. It means that we not only look at dressing up in African attire one a year – we should do it as many times as possible and feel good in our skin.

“It means that we must wake up the pride in each and every one of us as citizens of this wonderful continent, the place of beginnings.

“We need to get back to celebrating who we are,” she says. “What on earth is Braai Day? If you want to braai go ahead and braai then. We want to celebrate our culture.”

Listen to the podcast for Mhlophe’s account of how she started telling stories in 1991:

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Sindiwe Magona’s isiXhosa Translation of Stories of Africa by Gcina Mhlophe Included on 2015 IBBY SA Honour Roll

Sindiwe Magona

Alert! Sindiwe Magona’s translation of Stories of Africa by Gcina Mhlophe has been included on the 2015 International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) SA honour roll.

During an event held in Pinelands last week, the South African section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY SA) announced their honour roll, which will all be presented at the IBBY World Congress in New Zealand next year. During the run-up to this event these books, six in total, will all be exhibited around the world at conferences and book fairs, and form part of permanent collections in some of the biggest international youth libraries.

Magona is recognised in the category “Translator: into isiXhosa” for her formidable translation of Mhlophe’s folk tales to Umcelo Neentsomi Zase-Afrika.

Stories of AfricaUmcelo Neentsomi Zase-Afrika

Books LIVE was present at the announcement of Magona’s inclusion on the IBBY SA honour roll and have transcribed her acceptance speech:

To say that I am ecstatic would be an understatement.

I bitch a lot about translation, especially of children’s books that are sometimes totally and completely ignored. I remember a book I found in IBBY some years ago when I first retired and returned to South Africa. I found a book published in the states, and that book didn’t make it in Xhosa. I saw the book, I read the book and it had been shredded, or whatever.

Translation is important, and especially I think now in this country. I feel that the translation of children’s books could be part of our nation-building. It shouldn’t be that 20 years and more into the new dispensation children are still divided according to linguistic affiliations. I feel that Gcina Mhlophe’s book – which I translated from English to isiXhosa – those folktales should be available to all the children of South Africa. I grew up with Xhosa folktales, which I enjoyed. But I feel that English speaking children, children who speak Afrikaans as a mother tongue, Sesotho, Tswane, should all enjoy those folktales. I enjoyed Gcina’s tales in isiZulu when I could understand them translated into English.

I feel this is something that we – it is just a wish and a hope and a prayer – that we should be knitting a South African literature, especially for the young.

The previous translator who was here, who translates into Afrikaans [Kobus Geldenhuys], said something: What do you translate, and how do you translate it? Obviously you have the text in the original language, which you must then transport to the target language. You need to translate the story. You need to translate the sentiments, the joy, whatever is there, even the grief. Do you do it literarily, or do you do it poetically, or is it a marriage of the two? These are some of the decisions you have to make as a translator.

I love language, and for the benefit and for the pleasure of being reasonably steeped in both languages, isiXhosa and English. I am not a mother tongue English speaker, I don’t fool myself, but I have enough understanding and have used it enough, have studied it enough that I more or less control it, as much as one can be almost mother tongue. But know that there are things that one cannot translate … and you have to be respectful in dealing with someone else’s work. That you honour them, so that the person who reads the book in Xhosa does not begin by understanding that this is a translation. Translation should be hidden! You shouldn’t leave a big footprint a translator! It should read as an original for the person who is going to read the new work.

I would hate for anybody reading a book I translated to say, “Oh, this is what is must have said in English”. No. No. If your works looks like “this is what it must have been” then it is literal, and the person who is reading it in the target language should derive as much pleasure and respect for the person who created the original work. That shouldn’t be lost! You are serving not just the audience, you also serving the creator of the work. I think for me this is both a burden and an honour, and that is what I try to do.

I am very happy to get this recognition. I did not even know that such things existed, but I am happy to receive it.

2015 IBBY SA Honour Roll announcement
IBBY SA Honour List 2015-2016


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Helené Prinsloo tweeted live from the announcement:


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Press release

IBBY SA is the South African national section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), an international body with 74 national sections around the world.

IBBY SA is pleased to announce that the following books have been selected for the IBBY Honour List to be presented at the IBBY World Congress in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2016 as having made a special contribution to recent South African literature for children and young people:

Author: Afrikaans
Fanie Viljoen: Uit (LAPA Uitgewers, Pretoria) – for making it easy for all teenagers to experience and emphathise with a young man’s growing realisation of his sexual orientation

Author: English
Charmaine Kendal: Miscast (Junkets Publisher, Cape Town) – for its sensitive exploration of the inner journey of a trans boy; probably the first South African teen novel about transgender

Translator: into Afrikaans
Kobus Geldenhuys: Hoe om jou draak te tem (Protea Boekhuis, Stellenbosch) translated from Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon – for capturing the spirit and sense of the fantastical in his translation

Translator: into isiXhosa
Sindiwe Magona: Umculo neentsomi zase-Afrika (University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg) translated from Gcina Mhlophe’s Stories of Africa – for transmitting the magic of the original folktales so faithfully

Translator: into Sesotho
Selloane Khosi: Baile le Moketa (Jacana Media, Johannesburg), translated from Gerard Sekoto’s Shorty and Billy Boy – for a clear and lively version of the 1973 story of Sekoto’s, only recently published for the first time.

Dale Blankenaar: Olinosters op die dak / Rhinocephants on the roof by Marita van der Vyver (NB Publishers, Cape Town) – for his rendering of the eerily atmospheric world of the writing

The above announcements were made at an event hosted by IBBY SA at the SASNEV building in Pinelands, Cape Town, on Thursday 17 September 2015.

The announcements were made by Lona Gericke, former children’s librarian, former chair and vice-chair of IBBY SA, and a former member of the international Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury. She holds the Awards portfolio on the Executive Committee of IBBY SA. IBBY SA’s current Chairperson Professor Genevieve Hart handed over the certificates.

Five of the six people nominated were able to attend the event and receive their IBBY SA certificates in person. Likewise, five of the six publishers involved were the happy recipients of IBBY SA certificates.

“We are really glad that the six categories were spread among six different publishers,” said Lona Gericke. “It means that more and more publishers are doing excellent work in the field of literature for children and young people.”

Is there anything especially noteworthy about this year’s Honour List nominees? “Isn’t it striking,” commented Genevieve Hart, “that the two ‘Author’-category nominees have both written books about sexual diversity? It is a very significant area of teenager experience, and one welcomes such careful and sensitive treatments.”

What lies ahead for these six books? Copies have been despatched to the head office of IBBY in Basle, Switzerland. At next year’s IBBY World Congress they will be on display, will appear in the Honour List of Books brochure, and will be the subject of a screened presentation in a plenary session of the Congress, after which they will move on to be displayed at the famous Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

So, the recognition and the exposure for these writers, translators and illustrators could be very significant for their careers.


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“Tell an Old Tale” – The 2015 Nozincwadi Festival Kicks off in KwaZulu-Natal with Gcina Mhlophe

The 2015 Nozincwadi Festival kicked off today at the Diakonia Centre in Durban and will run until Wednesday, 9 September. The theme of this year’s festival is “Tell an Old Tale” and is aimed at instilling a sense of pride in our history and heritage.

Nozincwadi was conceived in 2001 by the champion of literacy in South Africa, founder of the GAHT and renowned storyteller and author, Dr Gcina Mhlophe.

Umcelo Nezindaba Zase-AfrikaHave You Seen Zandile?Love ChildOur Story MagicStories of AfricaSongs and Stories of Africa

10 primary schools and 12 high schools from around KwaZulu-Natal were invited to participate in the main event on the first day of the festival, while on Wednesday the Gcinamasiko Arts and Heritage Trust (GAHT) will join the Emandeni Library near Stanger in their celebration of International Literacy Day. The schools in attendance will each receive a book box containing books in English, Afrikaans and their mother tongue.

Nozincwadi aims to show people the joy of reading and to bring books to communities that cannot afford their own.

“In today’s world, literacy and reading are keys that open the doors to the global village,” Mhlophe says. “We say this is the age of computers, but sophisticated computers and all sorts of modern forms of media are useless to a country that does not invest in the literacy of its people.”

“This is why I dedicate my creativity and time to make a difference in the lives of rural people, particularly children whose situation might seem hopeless.”

Read the press release:


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The 2015 Nozincwadi Festival will run on Tuesday September 8 at Durban’s Diakonia Centre and on Wednesday at Emandeni Community Library near Stanger.

The festival is presented by The Gcinamasiko Arts and Heritage Trust under the auspices of its founding member and Executive Director, South Africa’s internationally renowned story-teller and best-selling author, Dr Gcina Mhlophe.

The main event will be held on Tuesday 8 September at Durban’s Diakonia Centre. The second event which Gcinamasiko will participate in to celebrate its annual schools festival as well as International Literacy Day, will be on Wednesday 9 September at Emandeni Community Library near Stanger.

Celebrating International Literacy Day, the upcoming festival has a history-telling theme entitled “Tell an Old Tale”. This aims at encouraging young South Africans to honour our history, instilling a sense of pride in our heritage while renewing the traditional spirit of valuing our elders.

Following the adage, “For a branch to bear fruit, it must honour its roots”, the festival’s theme is in line with planning that is underway for the opening next year of The Dr Gcina Mhlophe Memory House. This ground-breaking oral history museum will be launched early in 2016. To this end, all projects which pave the way for the opening Memory House will be themed around oral history, history-telling and pride in our heritage.

The vision of Nozincwadi embraces the concept of young and old people being drawn in as recipients of book packages, which are given away during this ongoing reading road show. Its beneficiaries include children, young adults as well as recently literate adults.

The aims and objectives of Nozincwadi are: to instill in people the pleasure of reading; to revive the art of storytelling; to encourage and promote the role of storytelling in modern society; to endorse the work of South African and African authors; and ultimately to encourage young people to start creating their own stories and their own books, so they can have a say in the future of writing and reading in this country.

A primary thrust of the project remains the distribution of books within communities who otherwise will have no access to books.

“In today’s world, literacy and reading are keys that open the doors to the global village,” affirms Dr Mhlophe. “We say this is the age of computers, but sophisticated computers and all sorts of modern forms of media are useless to a country that does not invest in the literacy of its people.”

“This is why I dedicate my creativity and time to make a difference in the lives of rural people, particularly children whose situation might seem hopeless.”

“I’ve been there, that’s where I come from: reading inspired me to think and dream big. I would like to share this experience with everybody who is feeling despondent with their personal situation right now.”

Nozincwadi was conceived in 2001 as a tribute to reading and writing in South Africa. While the project has travelled to the most remote areas of the country, promoting reading and inspiring future young writers, millions more children need to benefit.

“On a practical level, the Nozincwadi project helps teachers and librarians set up library boxes, and where libraries already exist at schools and community centres, we bring new books. During the course of the project, new schools were targeted every month.”

“We are proud that since its inception in 2001 Nozincwadi is still running. This year we will have more than 15 schools in attendance including Umlazi Junior Primary school, who are fresh from winning three top awards in an inter schools traditional dance competition. These highly talented students have already graced our festival stage for three years and now in 2015 they are back by popular demand! Their dedication and discipline is remarkable. What makes us even prouder is that they are just as committed in the classroom. They know what our slogan ‘Read and Grow’ means,” Mhlophe says.

“We were able to host this festival successfully each year even with financial constraints. This was made possible with support from our partners such as Robin Hood Foundation, Awesome SA, Masizi Kunene Foundation, Biblionef, Puku Publishers and many other sister organisations. In 2015 we are proud to announce that Gcinamasiko has partnered with REDISA who are supporting the event both financially and in-kind.”

This new partnership is reciprocal: since November 2014 Gcina Mhlophe has been a spokesperson and ambassador for the education wing of REDISA, attending events, performing and generally supporting REDISA’s work.

Admission to the Nozincwadi Festival is by invitation. 10 primary schools and 12 high schools from around KwaZulu-Natal will participate in day one at Diakonia Centre. Each school will receive a book box containing books in English, Afrikaans and the mother tongue.

Day two will see GAHT joining forces with the Emandeni Library near Stanger to participate in their celebration of International Literacy Day. Emandeni Library celebrates this special day each year. GAHT attends the event, supporting and partnering with them. There are usually 10 or more schools from Emandeni and surrounds in attendance. Many community members attend including the Chief of that area. GAHT will present the professional storytelling performances.

The programme will also launch the new The Hope Song CD, a celebration of oral history in which Mhlophe is accompanied by the acclaimed jazz maestro and maskandi star, Bheki Khoza.


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Don’t Miss the UKZN Press Authors at the South African Book Fair

Being at HomeOur Story MagicStories of AfricaPolitics of Climate Justice
Race, Class and PowerAntjie Krog and the Post-Apartheid Public SphereWhen a Man Cries

A number of UKZN Press authors will be participating in events at the South African Book Fair this year.

Some of the highlights include African folktales for children by Gcina Mhlophe, a true storytelling master; a discussion of South Africa’s options at this time in history with Steven Friedman, author of Race, Class and Power: Harold Wolpe and the Radical Critique of Apartheid; and a discussion about the art of the short story chaired by Siphiwo Mahala.

Here is a full list of all of the marvellous UKZN Press authors who will be at SABF, and when and where you can catch them:

UKZN Press Authors at the SABF


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